September 12, 2012

Wrap Up Finale: Yough River Park, Wildlife Works, and Master Gardener Program

To finish my wrap up of the Fair, I wanted to share a little more about the location and the two exhibitors I became the most familiar with.

Wildlife Works
Wildlife Works is an all-volunteer non-profit that rehabs wildlife and promotes native species and habitat preservation. They brought an albino corn snake in an aquarium, a turtle with a nifty open mesh tunnel run, and a kestrel (not pictured) on a leash:
albino corn snake
wildlife works turtle
Aside from hearing the turtle's loss-of-tail story that involved being a dog's play toy (yikes!), I also had a baby bird myth from my youth completely debunked!

Did you know that bird moms will not abandon baby birds if you touch them? You can carefully pick them up and place them in their nests, and you can even warm them gently in your hand if they are cold before putting them back in.

Make sure the bird is too young to fly, though- young birds sometimes jump out of their nests a few days before they can actually fly, but the bird moms will still care from them down on the ground.

Penn State Master Gardener Program
Penn State offers a set of classes to people who have an interest in gardening and helping in the community.  Once they've received the training, they assist with horticulture programs in their county.

The certification is pretty intense: 36 hours of training, 80% or higher score on your final exam, and 50 hours of volunteer service. To maintain certification, you must do 20 additional volunteer hours and 8 hours of training each year.

With worming, dog adventures, football season, yoga, and running currently in season, I'm fresh out of time to become a master gardener, but they do offer some interesting class topics during the program like Basics of Entomology, Plant Diseases, and Indoor & Container Plants. If you do have the time to become a master, you can visit their program pages for more info.

Yough River Park
The fair was held at Yough River Park in Connellsville along the Great Allegheny Passage:
Great Allegheny Passage
The Great Allegheny Passage portion of the trail stretches 135 miles from Pittsburgh, PA all the way to Cumberland, MD, over old railroad routes that are now covered with small rocks and cinders.

I spend a lot of time running and biking along the trail and kayaking down the river, so it was different to stay in one place and enjoy the scenery at the park.

That completes the wrap up! Later this week, I'll share lessons from my first year of organic gardening and my plans for an off season ground rebound with vermicompost.

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